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Billionaire rightwinger Pinera returns as Chile’s president

BILLIONAIRE conservative businessman Sebastian Pinera, who defeated incumbent Socialist Party member Michelle Bachelet in November’s election for Chile’s presidency, took office on Sunday vowing to revive the economy.

In his previous presidential stint from 2010 to 2014, the economy benefited from rising international prices for Chile’s chief export, copper, and a huge rebuilding programme following a magnitude 8.8 earthquake that hit just before he took office.

A slump in copper prices helped sour Ms Bachelet’s second round as president, with the economy slipping badly in 2014 and 2015.

Mr Pinera called for a national consensus on protecting tens of thousands of young people who live in state-run homes or related institutions, 865 of whom have died in the past decade.

He also urged improvements in healthcare and progress in La Araucania, where many of the 700,000 members of the indigenous Mapuche community live in deep poverty and activists are fighting to recover ancestral lands.

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